My impression as a Psychologist Intern
Like with most therapies, since results are not instantaneous as with physical cures, it is understandable that parents have doubts and uncertainty about vision therapy.
Vision therapy is not just about eye-strengthening exercises; it is about changing lifestyle and being committed to adopting new helpful habits to improve and maintain good eye health. In addition, having clearer vision in turn impacts on behaviour and self-esteem issues. When everything around you is clearer, you are no longer confused and trapped, allowing you to be able to connect with yourself better and view the world with confidence.
When changes occur
However when the parents do see the change, they are so surprised and comforted and incredulous feelings of happiness flow from their faces.
I saw two mothers speaking happily – one was referred by the other and the mother who was referred to Orthovision was speaking about how her daughter was able to reduce her glasses prescription but still able to see, more clearly than ever actually.
It definitely takes determination, hard work and commitment to see and achieve change. Parents also really need to set boundaries and be the ones to implement with the kids. However at the end of it, the outcome will be a long-lasting and impactful change, similar to that in psychotherapy.
No two cases alike
How two siblings who suffer from similar diagnosis (one suppresses right eye, while other suppresses the left) could be so worlds apart in their personality. The boy who suppressed his left eye was more solemn and seemed to be withholding lots of emotions internally, while the other brother was more talkative, and had an outgoing personality. They are clear examples of how their perception of the world affects them and the importance of integration, especially of both eyes (both hemispheres of the brain) and how important it is to be able to connect with yourself holistically.
Another client’s case – hearing her stories and her constant visits to the hospital, operations, everything she has been through over the course of the past year has been like a roller coaster ride. It is incredible how she is able to keep it together so far.
I can only try to imagine how difficult it must be for the children. It is not easy really for the children to be able to see the world around them in such a confusing manner, which affects how they perceive themselves and also their self-esteem and behaviours.
Not just for the child
The work done at Orthovision is not just working on the child, but also helping parents to understand how their child is perceiving the world – really putting them in their child’s shoes and demonstrate how challenging it must be for their child. Although your visual acuity is good, functional vision may not be. It is important to undergo a functional vision test before labelling the child as being difficult or being rebellious when they exhibit deviant behaviours. Have we asked how the child is viewing the world from his/her perspective? Functional vision was a new concept for me to grasp at first, but thinking of it psychologically – for example, how it is possible for someone to appear to be coping well externally, whereas internally they are not feeling okay – made the idea of visual acuity vs. functional vision understandable to me.
Bringing it all together
My experience at Orthovision showed me how other modalities, like vision, is equally important and can have as much of a significant and equal impact as well as talking about emotions and thoughts. In psychology, we talk about understanding yourself... but how is it possible to understand yourself when you cannot even understand everything around you because of your visual processing?